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TOAD-CHARGE™
Frequently-Asked
Questions

HOW DOES TOAD-CHARGE™ WORK? The TOAD-CHARGE™ kit connects between your motorhome and dinghy vehicle, using the motohome's 12 volt electrical system to supply charging current to your dinghy vehicle's battery. The kit supplies whatever amount of current your dinghy vehicle battery needs to keep it charged (up to a maximum of 10 continuous amps). This current is available whenever the  motorhome engine is running.

WILL TOAD-CHARGE WORK WITH MY PARTICULAR BRAND OF MOTORHOME AND DINGHY VEHICLE? Yes, the kit is designed for universal installation, and works with ALL motorhomes and dinghy vehicles equipped with 12 volt electrical systems.

WILL TOAD-CHARGE OVERCHARGE MY DINGHY VEHICLE'S BATTERY? No, the Charge Regulator supplies only the amount of current being demanded by your dinghy battery to keep it charged. Up to 10 amps of charging current is available, but just a fraction of that amount is typically supplied (depending on how much current is being drawn by the ignition/accessory switch, dashboard lights, supplemental braking system, etc.).

HOW EASY IS IT TO DISCONNECT TOAD-CHARGE FROM MY DINGHY VEHICLE WHEN I'M NOT TOWING IT? Although the kit is installed permanently, it has plug-in connectors at the back of the motorhome, at the front of the dinghy vehicle, and on both ends of the tow bar. This allows the tow bar to be completely removed and stowed, or left attached to either the motorhome or dinghy vehicle when not in use. The kit also comes with a snap-on dust cap for every connector to protect them when they aren't in use.

DOES THE TOAD-CHARGE KIT ALSO WORK WITH GELL-CELL OR AGM BATTERIES? Yes, TOAD-CHARGE™ works with all lead-acid battery chemistries - Gell-Cell, AGM and conventional Flooded-Cell.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I START EITHER VEHICLE WHILE TOAD-CHARGE IS CONNECTED? The Charge Regulator prevents your motorhome from supplying excessive current through the wire harness when you start the dinghy vehicle's engine. Similarly, the Charge Regulator will not allow any current to flow from the dinghy back to the motorhome, thereby preventing excessive current draw when you start the motorhome engine.

ON MY DINGHY VEHICLE, THE BATTERY IS NOT LOCATED IN THE ENGINE COMPARTMENT. CAN I STILL INSTALL TOAD-CHARGE? Yes, the Charge Regulator is still  installed in the engine compartment, but is connected to the Jump-Start terminals in your engine compartment, rather than directly to the posts on the battery.

CAN I CONNECT THE TOAD-CHARGE KIT TO MY MOTORHOME'S HOUSE BATTERIES INSTEAD? Yes, this approach has the advantage of allowing you to charge your dinghy vehicle overnight, using AC shore power and your motorhome's DC power converter or inverter/charger to supply the charging current. As soon as the motorhome engine is started, its electrical system takes over the process, continuing to supply charging current to the dinghy vehicle. The installation instructions describe how to connect the kit in this manner.

WHY CAN'T I INSTALL THE CHARGE REGULATOR IN MY MOTORHOME, RATHER THAN MY DINGHY VEHICLE? The regulator measures your dinghy battery voltage. This measurement is only accurate when the regulator is located near the dinghy battery (i.e., within several feet). Locating it at the motorhome end of the wire harness instead can introduce enough measurement error to make regulator operation unreliable.

MY BUS CONVERSION HAS A 24 VOLT ELECTRICAL SYSTEM. WILL TOAD-CHARGE WORK WITH IT? On 24 volt buses equipped with a 12 volt house battery bank, TOAD-CHARGE™ can be usually be connected to the 12 volt house batteries (provided they receive a charge from the engine while the bus is being driven). It can NOT be connected directly to a 24 volt electrical system.

WHERE CAN I DOWNLOAD THE INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS? Click HERE.

WHAT TOOLS ARE NEEDED TO INSTALL THE TOAD-CHARGE KIT? You'll need:

(1.) a power drill and 1/8" drill bit to drill the mounting holes for the charge controller and circuit breaker (unless you decide to use zip-ties to secure them instead),
(2.) a #2 Phillips screwdriver to mount the charge controller and circuit breaker (not needed when mounting with zip-ties),
(3.) wire cutters to cut the wire harness to desired length,
(4.) a 1/8" slotted screwdriver to attach the harness wires to the connectors,
(5.) a 11/32" nutdriver or socket to connect the wire harness to the circuit breaker,
(6.) wire strippers or a knife to remove the insulation from the wire harness ends,
(7.) a crimp tool for crimping the ring terminals on the motorhome wire harness and dinghy charge controller, and
(8.) a heat gun for installing the heat-shrink sleeves over the connnectors. (NOTE: Although using a heat gun gives the best results, a small butane torch or lighter can be used instead).

I WANT TO TOW A SECOND DINGHY VEHICLE BEHIND MY MOTOR HOME - CAN I BUY JUST THE TOAD-CHARGE PARTS THAT INSTALL ON THE DINGHY VEHICLE? Yes, a "2nd Dinghy Vehicle Kit" is available for $78.95, plus $5.95 shipping. Click HERE to order it.

CAN I USE MY MOTORHOME'S EXISTING REAR HITCH CONNECTOR, INSTEAD OF YOUR CONNECTORS AND MOTORHOME WIRE HARNESS? Yes, a "Dinghy Kit Without Connectors" is available separately (see below) for this purpose, and contains only the parts that install in the dinghy vehicle (i.e., Charge Controller, nylon wire ties, battery terminal connectors, mounting screws, etc.) - You simply connect it to your motorhome's existing hitch connector and tow bar interconnecting cable. However, your existing wiring and hitch connector must be adequate for supplying up to 10 amps to the TOAD-CHARGE™ Charge Controller, plus any other dinghy vehicle loads (i.e., transmission lube pump, supplemental braking system, etc.).

Note that the motorhome wire harness included in our complete TOAD-CHARGE™ kit includes a dedicated ground wire and connector pin, in order to avoid the combined voltage drops from the dinghy's running lights, lube pump, supplemental braking system and TOAD-CHARGE Charge Controller. If you use your existing motorhome wiring and connector instead, this important advantage may be lost. Also, note that an adequate circuit breaker or fuse MUST be present on your existing motorhome power wire - Without it, a fire hazard exists in the event of a wiring fault. If this protection isn't already present in your motorhome's wiring, please consider installing the 15 Amp Waterproof Circuit Breaker (available below).

TOAD-CHARGE™ Dinghy Kit Without Connectors (includes Charge Regulator & dinghy mounting hardware) @ $72.95 + $5.95 shipping: Click HERE to order.

TOAD-CHARGE™ 15 Amp Waterproof Circuit Breaker @ $12.95 (free shipping when ordered with Dinghy Kit): Click HERE to order.
 
DOES THE 15 AMP CIRCUIT BREAKER NEED TO BE INSTALLED NEAR MY MOTORHOME BATTERIES? It needs to be installed as close to the battery end of the motorhome wire harness as possible. This ensures that the entire length of the harness is protected against short circuits and overcurrent. Installing it at some midpoint in the harness (or at the motorhome hitch connector) defeats this important protective feature, and is NOT recommended.

HOW DO I MAKE IT EASIER TO INSERT THE BARE HARNESS WIRE ENDS INTO THE CONNECTORS? Hold the connector so that its 2 screw heads are facing up while inserting the wires. This position uses gravity to make the wire clamps inside the connector fall to the bottom, providing maximum room for inserting the wires.


AFTER I'VE INSTALLED THE TOAD-CHARGE KIT, HOW DO I KNOW THAT IT'S WORKING? After plugging in the tow bar and motorhome connectors, plug in the dinghy vehicle connector while observing the Charger Controller's status lights - The green POWER light will immediately illuminate to confirm that the controller is receiving power from the motorhome. When the motorhome engine is running, the yellow CHARGING light should be illuminated to confirm that the motorhome is producing sufficient voltage to charge the dinghy battery. If the CHARGING light is not illuminated, the dinghy vehicle will not receive a charge.

AFTER I UNPLUG MY  DINGHY FROM MY  MOTORHOME, WHY DO THE CHARGING OR POWER LIGHTS STILL REMAIN ON? The Charge Regulator only measures the DC voltage coming from the motorhome every several minutes. So, the lights will remain on until the next time the Regulator makes this measurement.

WHEN I INSTALLED MY KIT, I CONNECTED IT TO MY MOTORHOME'S HOUSE BATTERIES, RATHER THAN THE STARTING BATTERY. WHY ISN'T IT KEEPING MY DINGHY BATTERY CHARGED? On most motorhomes, the house batteries receive their charging current from the engine alternator through a battery isolator relay. Often, the contacts on this relay go bad, preventing any current flow. Consequently, the TOAD-CHARGE kit slowly discharges the house batteries as the motorhome is being driven, until battery voltage drops down to the Charge Regulator's disconnect voltage - at which point the dinghy battery receives no charge.

Typically, failure of the battery isolator relay goes unnoticed, because your house battery charger still recharges the house batteries as soon as you hook up to AC shore power.

WHEN MY MOTORHOME IS RUNNING AND PLUGGED INTO MY DINGHY, WHY DOES THE YELLOW "CHARGING" LIGHT ON THE CHARGE REGULATOR BLINKS ON AND OFF? Typically, this indicates a poor electrical connection somewhere between the motorhome battery and the charge regulator. Essentially, the regulator measures adequate DC voltage coming from the motorhome to connect the dinghy battery - at which point the dinghy battery draws enough current to cause excessive voltage drop through the poor connection - which in turn causes the reguator to disconnect. With the dinghy now disconnected, the motorhome voltage rises again, and the entire cycle repeats.

Check for poor connections at the charge regulator terminals and hitch connectors, and for loose crimps on the ring terminals at the circuit breaker and motorhome battery.

WHY ARE THE CHARGE REGULATOR'S GREEN "POWER" AND YELLOW "CHARGING" LIGHTS BLINKING ALTERNATELY? This indicates that the regulator isn't measuring any DC voltage at all coming from the dinghy battery, and is usually caused by a poor connection between the regulator and dinghy battery terminals. Also, check to see if you have accidentally swapped the regulator's motorhome and dinghy battery connections.

I DON'T HAVE A HEAT GUN TO INSTALL THE HEAT-SHRINK SLEEVES OVER THE CONNECTORS. WHAT CAN I USE INSTEAD? A small butane torch or lighter works OK, if you take care to apply the heat gently and slowly. Appying too much heat (or applying it too fast) may scorch the sleeve or harness wire insulation.

If using a heat gun, select the "LOW" heat setting (approx. 750 watts).

You can't use a hair dryer - It doesn't produce high enough temperatures to shrink the sleeving.

(NOTE: Harbor Freight Tools has a heat gun on sale for around $10 just about every week - Makes a good investment for other RV and household chores, too.)





CAN I BUY SPARE CONNECTORS AND DUST CAPS? Yes, a "Spare Connector/Dust Cap Kit" is available for $14.95 (free shipping). It includes 2 Male and 2 Female connectors, 4 vinyl dust caps with bead chain lanyards, and enough shrink sleeving for all 4 connectors. Click HERE to order it.

CAN I USE THE NEW DUST CAPS AND HEAT-SHRINKABLE SLEEVING ON MY EXISTING TOAD-CHARGE CONNECTORS? Yes, the sleeves and dust caps will fit any a TOAD-CHARGE kit that uses the green 2-pin connectors. A "Dust Cap/Sleeving Kit" is available for $xx.x (free shipping). It includes 4 dust caps with bead chain lanyards, and enough sleeving for all 4 of your TOAD-CHARGE connectors. Click HERE to order it.

(last updated 10/12/2014)
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